ISLAMABAD: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is in Pakistan on a two-day official visit on the invitation of President Mamnoon Hussain, is due to address a joint session of the parliament for the third time on Thursday.
Earlier today, Erdogan received a warm welcome at the Prime Minister’s House in the capital.
At the welcome ceremony, national anthems of the two countries were played and a contingent of the Pakistan armed forces presented a guard of honour to the Turkish President. The premier and Turkish President also held a one-on-one meeting.
President Erdogan will also visit the walled city of Lahore on Thursday during which the prime minister will host a banquet in his honour at the famous Shahi Fort. Later he will inaugurate Greater Iqbal Park in Lahore.
Turkish President and his wife landed in Pakistan on Wednesday. He was accompanied by a high-level entourage, including ministers and senior officials, as well as a large business delegation.
Meanwhile, despite a request by Turkish Ambassador Sadik Babur Girgin to reconsider its decision, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) will boycott President Erdogan’s address today.
Imran Khan had said on Tuesday it was not possible for his party to be a part of the parliament’s session. However, he had hinted that PTI may reassess its decision on the request of the Turkish ambassador.
Pakistan expels Turkish school staff
Pakistan has ordered Turkish teachers at schools with alleged links to a Turkish cleric opposed to President Erdogan to leave the country, as he prepares to address the parliament on Thursday.
The teachers and their families, totalling about 450 people, were given three days notice to leave, PakTurk International Schools and Colleges said in a statement late on Tuesday.
PakTurk educates more than 10,000 students in Pakistan and denies any affiliation with the cleric Fethullah Gulen, or his “Hizmet” movement.
Erdogan has accused Gulen, a former political ally, of being behind a coup attempt in July, and Turkey has previously asked Pakistan to shut down any groups in the country with links to the cleric.
“PakTurk International Schools and Colleges are deeply concerned over the abrupt decision of the government requiring the Turkish teachers, management and their family members…to leave the country within three days,” the school said.
It added that staff were asked to leave because of “non-approval of their requests for extension of visa”.
Bilateral defence cooperation agreed
President Hussain met President Erdogan on Wednesday at the President House , where the two agreed to further expand the mutual cooperation between their countries in diverse fields.
They agreed to further deepen the existing cooperation in trade and defence relations, settlement of Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN resolutions, joint efforts for durable peace in Afghanistan and elimination of terrorism.
On the occasion, President Hussain proposed to conclude a comprehensive and long-term “Framework Agreement for Defence Cooperation” between Pakistan and Turkey, which was agreed by the visiting dignitary.
Erdogan said bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries would grow further in the coming days, adding that in that regard all necessary measures would be taken.